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Hygge: the danish word which describes a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being. As it isn’t directly translated into a specific word it can be difficult to pin down what is hygge and what isn’t hygge, but the general consensus is that hygge is a feeling, a warm glow in your belly, contentment within what you have. Because of this hygge can be a very personal affair; what one person considers comfort could be the complete opposite of another’s. But there do seem to be some basics everyone can agree upon. Below I’ve listed the top ten tips I have for bringing hygge into your life, and how you could possibly personalize these and make hygge your own.
One of the very basic things you can do is light some candles. Big ones, smalls ones, it doesn’t matter. Turn off the artificial lights and sit by candle light. My personal favourite’s have wooden wicks so you also get the gentle crack and pop of burning wood, just like these ones here. A take on this could be to also have a bonfire! Who doesn’t love toasting marshmallows on a stick? This is also ties in to some of the following tips!
2. Spend more time in nature
Go for a walk to the park. Plan a day trip to a forest. Sit in your garden and enjoy a bonfire. In Scandinavia being outdoors is part of their way of life, it is ingrained within their very culture, and it’s something us Brits seem to be losing focus of. There are so many areas of natural beauty across the UK, and generally within a few hours drive. Not to mention I don’t think I’ve been to a city which didn’t have a park somewhere. If this is really out of your grasp maybe try and catch up on some gardening, or sit outside anywhere just for the fresh air. Make it work for you.
3. Make time for loved ones
Another integral part of hygge is to enjoy time with others. Us humans aren’t supposed to be alone, we’re a herd animal and should interact as much as possible. If you’re a bit of an introvert like me this can sometimes be a challenge, but make time for those who really mean something to you. Maybe invite friends to your own bonfire bash, complete with marshmallows on sticks and mugs of hot chocolate? We’re all busy people so it can be difficult to align schedules, but make it happen, it will be worth it.
4. Wear warm comfy clothes
During our harsh cold winters is there anything more pleasing than to wrap up in woolly jumpers, scarves and gloves? Take pleasure in the comfy clothes you wear. Have an extra long, soft scarf. Oversized mittens. Hats with excessively large bobbles. My favourite is wearing shoes with fluffy linings, warm feet are happy feet and put a smile on my face everyday. Do what works for you.
5. Soup glorious soup
Simple, warming, comforting food is essential, and does it get more comforting than soup? For the full hygge effect make the soup yourself (butternut squash with cumin is a personal favourite) and pair it with freshly baked bread. After preparing, cooking and consuming your own simple dinner you’ll be guaranteed to have a warm glow in your stomach. Soup not really your thing? Thats fine! Simple Mediterranean dishes have the same effect for me, platters of meats and cheeses combined with salads. Healthy, nutritious, easy to make. I’m smiling just thinking about it.
6. Switch off those screens
Put your phone on silent, turn the laptop off, throw the TV remote in the bin: enjoy some down time. It’s all too easy to pass an evening watching television, or scrolling through Facebook on your phone, but you need to make time to disconnect. Read a book, play a board game with your family, do some painting! If a particular craft takes your fancy then indulge in it for at least one evening a week. Knitting and crochet is a perfect endeavour as you can create your own comfy blanket, mittens and hats! I’ve written another post here which explains why this is such a good idea.
7. Get baking!
This ties in slightly with number 5, but I’ve decided to list it seperately as there is a huge difference between cooking and baking. Find a recipe for a dessert you have always wanted to take and give yourself an afternoon to do it. I’ve found, in the past, the bigger the project and with no time constraints the happier I feel once it is finished. Plus, who doesn’t love slicing into a freshly made cake?
8. Make tea in a teapot
Warm drinks and nostalgia, this works for me every time. My partner and I invested in a nice teapot as we both know it’ll be used a lot, and so far we haven’t been wrong. This is the exact one we have, he is beautiful and we use him as much as possible! Hygge to me revolves around warmth, and nothing is warmer than tea. Now this doesn’t have to be PG Tips, it could be whatever flavour you want it to be! For my UK friends I implore you to check out In-Fusion Tea. They do beautiful different blends for everyone. Even a chocolate gateau. Yum. Tea not your thing? Try hot chocolate with tonnes of marshmallows and cream. Or coffee in a cafetiere. Enjoy your warm beverage, and turn it into a little mini occasion.
9. Have a bath instead of a shower
Showers are functional, they clean your body but aren’t overly luxurious. However baths could be considered the more basic version of a hot tub (that’s how I try to look at it anyway). Take time over your bath, don’t consider it just an exercise for getting clean, it is time to enjoy. Light candles (see tip 1!), use a bath bomb, lay back and relax. The scrubbing can wait, enjoy the soaking first.
10. Watch the sunset
My last, and probably favourite tip. Nothing is more powerful and uplifting than watching the sunset, or sunrise. It is new beginnings, the introduction of warmth into our days, and can have a profound spiritual effect on us. Get comfortable either outside or inside, and watch the sun. If this isn’t your thing then just take some time to look up and feel happiness and gratefulness in what you have. Hygge is at it’s core a feeling, a feeling of contentment, and I personally find looking into the sky has an ability to make me appreciate more than anything else.
I hope you’ve found some new idea’s on how to bring hygge into your life, and to hopefully increase your sense of well-being and happiness. There is a good reason the Danes are considered to be the happiest people in the world. I’ll be following up this post with similar tips and tricks for bringing some of the scandinavian into your lives. Comment below and let me know what you think!